Sunday, January 16, 2011

I Don't Get Drunk, and I Don't Smoke. Leave Me Alone.

Last night, I went to a friend's 18th birthday party. I had a really good time - not because I got smashed, or because I indulged myself with numerous cigarettes. I enjoyed myself because I got to spend some quality time with mates, and had some of the best conversations that I've ever had. Of course, there was alcohol at the party, and I didn't mind that at all. If you drink responsibly, there is nothing to worry about. There were also a few guys smoking cigarettes at the party. While I frown upon this habit, I realise that people have the right to smoke, and that I should leave them be.

A problem arises when people try and coerce me into drinking alcohol. Now, I am not a teetotaller. That is, I do not abstain from drinking alcohol entirely. When I drink alcohol, it is almost always beer. Spirits don't really appeal to me. My only alcoholic beverage last night was one beer, which has been the trend in most parties I've been to. Most of my friends had some form of alcohol last night, and some of them were either drunk or tipsy. Most people who didn't drink were designated drivers. There was a point in the night where Smirnoff shots were poured. I expressed that I didn't want one, because I do not like the taste. Regardless, my 'friends' (well, one or two of them) still pressured me into drinking a shot. I don't easily succumb to peer pressure, and so I declined their offers. One of my friends, Lucas, is another person who doesn't see the big deal about alcohol. He's even less willing than I am to drink the stuff. Still, he was being pressured into drinking for most of the night. One 'friend', Nicholas, did something completely stupid. Nicholas offered Lucas $50 if he took one shot of Smirnoff, and wait for it...$60 if he threw up. Now, this behaviour is just fucking uncalled for. It really, really pisses me off. Which level-headed person would pay a friend to drink alcohol against his will? It's fucked. Some people 'get off' on alcohol. Nicholas, who was a designated driver, encouraged others to take shots all night. This is what I mean by 'getting off' on alcohol. For him, watching two guys take shots at the same time is akin to how Romans watched gladiatorial contests in the Colosseum. A massive spectacle. Another thing that annoys me is when drunk people continually announce "I'm drunk," as if they expect a round of applause. The only thing they'd get from me is a shake of the head, and perhaps a sigh. Getting drunk is not a positive thing. It doesn't make you better than any sober person. It is not a thing that should be glorified. By the way, if anyone with an alcohol 'problem' or addiction is reading this, I do not feel sorry for you. You weren't born with such a problem; you brought it upon yourself. Another striking moment from last night is when one of my friends, Anthony, mentioned an upcoming party, and said to Lucas "If you're not gonna drink, then you shouldn't go. That's the only reason why people are going." Lucas replied "But Steven doesn't drink." Anthony's response took me by surprise. He said "Steven's an exception. People expect Steven not to drink." I don't think I replied to Anthony's comment; I was too lost in my thoughts. Why do I attract that label? Why must it be a big deal that I hardly drink alcohol? Why must people who don't get drunk or tipsy be seen as 'different'? Why have parties changed their purpose from a social sphere to interact, to a place to vomit your guts up? That moment occurred early on in the night, and it was then that I decided that I would write this blog.

The second issue that is on my mind, as you can gauge from this blog's title, is smoking cigarettes. Now, I wasn't offered any cigarettes last night, thankfully. That would have been awkward. Generally, smokers aren't as pushy as drinkers. Smokers generally realise that their habit is a negative one, but simply state that they are addicted. Most smokers that I know do not wish the habit upon friends and family. Drinkers, on the other hand, will almost always ask "Are you sure?" when you decline an alcoholic beverage. They are proud of their habit, and want others to join them in their drunken stupor. Last night, a friend who smokes changed chairs because his cigarette smoke was too close to my face. He did this out of his own will, and then exclaimed "A smoker should never bring a non-smoker down." That was very nice of him to say. If only more smokers could be as considerate as he is. This paragraph isn't being written in the same vein as the previous one. I'm not expressing my disgust for those who smoke, merely clarifying that I don't smoke, and that I never will. Can you believe that I've grown up in a house of smokers? That's right: Both of my parents, as well as my brother, smoke. Just about all of my brother's friends smoke. My neighbour, who frequently comes over to my house, smokes. I'm sick of being an innocent victim of passive smoking.   

To conclude this entry, I leave you with a final thought:

Am I the normal one, because I don't succumb to harmful temptations? Or am I the strange one, because I'm part of the minority who has no curiosity to try such substances?

Feel free to answer that question for me, but only if you're going to answer sensibly.